Technological Afterlife

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A belief in an afterlife is a very common trait in religion, and comes in many forms. Many sophonts believe that they will continue to exist after death, without the use of back-up technology. In fact the belief in a spiritual afterlife sometimes encourages people to reject the use of life-extension technology, uploading or backups, since a person who extends their life by artificial means could risk missing out on a true, spiritual afterlife.

Technological afterlives

But many sophonts choose to use technological means to extend their lifespans, or to recover their mental states after the death of their physical body. For this purpose many citizens of the Sephirotic Empires maintain a constantly-updated backup data cache, from which their mindstate can be rebooted in the event of accident. These backups need to be updated regularly otherwise all the memories and life-experiences that are created in the interim will be lost.

Often a citizen will choose to upload emself voluntarily and become a virtual sophont living in the Cybercosm and/or the Noosphere, or in an artificial heaven (this option is very common in the Utopia Sphere). Once an uploaded personality begins to experience life as a virtual entity, they may find it very easy to alter their toposophic characteristics, since they are no longer constrained to follow the restrictions of a physical body. If an uploaded person changes significantly inside the Cybercosm, they may no longer resemble the original physical copy, and the characteristics and personality of the original can be lost.

Different types of technological afterlife in the Sephirotic Empires

A sophont who is fully backed-up and then suffers a physical death can be treated in several different ways in various parts of the Terragen Sphere. Such a sophont may be:-

* stored for a period chosen by the deceased sophont before death
* stored in an inactive state for an indefinite period, and recreated later if this is deemed necessary by the local AI Gods or their agents
* run as an active copy in the cybercosm, a state which allows the copy to change radically in a relatively short timegframe
* multicopying into a dividual, or into an arbitrary number of copies that can experience many different worldlines
* ascension to a higher toposophic level, or even reincarnation at a lower level such as a presapient
* storage or reconstitution by the local AI in some more abstract form, as part of a group mind, deconstructed into character traits as per Derrida modeling, partial emulation as a ghost or adviser, subsumed by a transapient as a submind, etcetera
* reincarnation in a different body, perhaps with part of the memory removed or disabled, effectively becoming a new person
* judged and found wanting and punished, or rewarded for good behaviour in one of many various ways.

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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 31 December 2007.